Kudos to “The Simpsons,” 400 episodes and 20 years on television.
I was 1 year old when “The Simpsons” began on “The Tracy Ullman Show” in 1987. I, like all of my friends, have been a fan of the show for as long as I can remember. I have vivid memories of sitting around the lunch table in 4th grade just quoting “The Simpsons” with my friends — practically every other sentence uttered began with with the phrase, “Hey! Remember that time on ‘The Simpsons’ when…” 95% of my sense of humor at that age was Simpsons-related. My after-school routine from age 8 through 14 was to come home, get something to eat, and watch the two Simpsons episodes at 5:00 and 5:30. More than half of the time the two episodes were reruns, but that only meant that I got another chance to catch a funny line from the show that I could proudly quote to my friends the next day.
I think at around the time I was 14 or 15, when I started high school, I stopped watching as much TV. I still watched “The Simpsons” of course, but not as religiously as before. I’m not sure if it was just me or if the episodes weren’t as funny, or maybe I had just seen the old ones so many times that I could practically recite each episode line-by-line. You might think that I perhaps grew out of the show, but you would be completely mistaken. About 5 or 6 months ago, my friend Simon got the 4th season of “The Simpsons” on DVD for his birthday. We started watching the DVDs, and thus began a Simpsons marathon that is still going strong 6 months later. We’ve watched the episodes from seasons 2 through 10 multiple times, and will continue watching more as we are able to acquire copies of the next seasons. The show is just as good, probably even better, than I remember it. Some of the jokes are somewhat obscure or even intellectual, and I don’t think I would’ve understood them all at age 10.
I watched the 400th episode last night, of course. I personally thought it was great. Especially all the jokes bashing Fox. I can’t think of any television show that could get away with what “The Simpsons” was able to get away with in this episode. They completely attack the blatant hypocrisy of Fox — trashy, morally degrading filth on one channel, holier-than-thou right-wing liberal bashing on another channel. It’s pretty great that they saved this material for the 400th episode, when they knew the most people would be watching. Good for them. A lot of people in the media have criticized Fox, but how many television shows on Fox have criticized it?
If you haven’t already, go rent or buy any season of “The Simpsons” between 4 and 10. This was probably their Golden Age, when they were just cranking out classic episode after classic episode. If you like goofy humor, political and social commentary humor, sitcom-style humor, cartoon humor, and so on — “The Simpsons” is probably your cup of tea. I can’t really imagine someone not being able to find any humor they like in the show — it’s pretty much universally loved.